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Woman working at home
2018-11-07
5 Benefits Millennials Look For in Employers

Millennial employees are known for changing jobs faster than other generations, so it’s no wonder Millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. But instead of writing off this segment of employees, many companies are looking at what drives people in this generation to join a company, and how can you keep the younger allstars once they’re on your team? Many Millennials have college degrees with varied backgrounds and experiences, they’re loyal to causes they care about and connected in their communities. Keeping top talent is a key business driver for success, but there are some things you might not know that Millennials are looking for in employers.  

Opportunity for Advancement

Millennials don’t want to get into one position and stay there forever. After seeing their loyal parents ousted from companies during the recession, young employees know not to settle and let skills stagnate. They might even leave for other opportunities, but you can attract and retain the best of them by offering development opportunities and continuing education. Millennials want to know that they can grow with the company and they won’t get stuck in one position. As a matter of fact, 59% of Millennials say this is extremely important to them.  

The State of Student Loan Debt in America Today 

 

Support

Nothing is more frustrating than working in a space or with a team that doesn’t support you. Millennials want to be somewhere that they feel supported. Whether that’s the right computer for their job, a sit-to-stand desk, ergonomic work chair, or regular check-ins from leadership, support is crucial.  

Work-Life Balance

Most would say it is not considered admirable to work a 60-hour workweek or to skip using your vacation time, because you’re that valuable. Millennial employees have no interest in being the first to the office and the last to leave because a work-life balance has become a mantra for this generation. Keep in mind these young workers had parents who were not as available for family time, and they are choosing instead to spend more time with their families or to disconnect from work to recharge their batteries. Since everyone is reachable through digital tools 24/7 getting away from the office and finding other ways to put work-life balance in harmony is crucial to avoiding burnout and keeping the best talent.  

Recognition and Feedback

Some people balk at the Millennials for having gotten participation trophies as kids, but the result is this generation likes to be recognized for good work and need more feedback to feel secure. Whereas a typical Baby Boomer might be happy assuming things are fine if they aren’t getting criticism, a Millennial would likely want regular status updates from their boss. They usually want to be doing things that are meaningful and helping the team progress, so things like a weekly meeting or quick one-on-one session to talk about goals can really go a long way to helping your top Millennial talent stay engaged. Plus, giving your Millennial employees props for their good work can be more effective than other types of perks or bonuses. 68% of Millennials said they’d prefer being personally called out for their efforts.  

Meaningful Perks

It’s a common misconception that all you need to attract and retain Millennials are things like pizza parties and bean bag chairs. In reality, they want more meaningful perks than this. Time off means more to them than raises because they’re driven to see the world and connect with other cultures. Options like bonuses that go straight to their student loans or more competitive benefits packages can be the difference between staying at your company or jumping ship for a competitor.  

Learn More About ELFI for Business

2018-11-04
8 Ways to Earn Quick Cash in Your 20’s

Life is expensive, especially when you are first figuring it out. Whether we want to admit it or not, we’ve all had that moment where we have found ourselves strapped for cash.  To combat these instances, here is a list of 8 ways you can earn cash fast and help you make it to your next paycheck.

Take out the Trash

Get rid of things you no longer use! Consider it your winter cleaning. All those old video games you have lying around or those old jackets and dresses.  You may not get retail price, but it’s easier than ever to sell your old things on the web. Sites like ThredUp® will ship you a bag to put all your old clothes in and then they will give you money for what they sell and give away the remainder.  Have old furniture, instruments, baby carriers, even video games try using LetGo®, an app that you can use locally. Be sure that if you meet up to proceed with the online transaction, you do so in a safe place. Many police stations offer parking spaces for this purpose specifically – safety first! Selling things that have been hanging around your home is an effortless way to make extra cash. Save that additional money for your “fun” account or put it towards your student loan bills. Not only is selling your things a great way to make extra cash, but it’s a great way to make more space in your home. Once you start seeing your things sold you’ll be surprised at the difference a few bucks and some space can do.

DIY Babes

If you are crafty and think you may make something worth selling, try selling your creations on sites like Etsy®, eBay®, or Zazzle®. Be sure that before you make a large investment you can do it and you aren’t stretching outside your means to do so. It can be an easy way to make money from the comfort of your own couch. Crafting can be a great money maker around the holiday too. There are typically many craft fairs locally during the holidays where you can take your creations offline and sell them at vendor events and craft fairs. If you want to look more into selling your creations at craft fairs, be aware there is usually an upfront fee for a table. Do your math and if the upfront table cost is more than what you think you’ll sell, don’t do it. To keep your finances organized you may even want to consider opening up a separate account to keep your new found hobby/job finances separate. This additional account will allow you to easily track your expenses and income on your creations to determine if this is something you want to continue long term!

Work It

While maybe less appealing, picking up an extra shift at work or working overtime is a sure fire way to earn some extra bucks. Overtime isn’t always available, but if you work somewhere that you can indeed get overtime- try too. Overtime can be tiring but once you get your paycheck you’ll feel that it was worth it. If you’re in the medical professions summer can often present multiple opportunities. Many other workers will go on vacation and will need their shifts covered.

Tell a Friend!

Many businesses have come to understand the value of references that come from friends. Any mainstream business targeted to younger audiences is going to offer a referral program. Typically, these programs consist of getting a customized link to share on your social media accounts and with friends. If your friend signs up and becomes a customer you both will receive money, credit, or something similar. At Education Loan Finance we are no fools and offer our own referral program. We feel that there is no better compliment than our customers sharing their experience and referring us to their friends and loved ones. We offer a $400 referral bonus* to anyone who successfully refers individuals to refinance their student loans. What are you waiting for?

Answer Some Questions

How about that? A gig where you can get paid for giving your opinion. All you have to do to be a market research participant is give your opinion on various products and services to the companies that make them, and then you get paid for it. Sites like FocusGroup and MediaBarnResearch Services are great places to start. Before you sign up be sure that you understand how your payment will be dispersed. Some sites utilize a point system and with a certain number of points, you can get a gift card. Typically using these types of programs aren’t a stable way to make a lot of money but it’s good around the holiday and summer to make a few extra dollars for that “Fun” account we love to talk about.

Watch a Baby or Some Pets

Offering to watch over your neighbor’s house while they go on vacation, using websites like Care.com to land babysitting jobs, or offering your services as a dog walker can be great ways to make money. There are so many simple apps out there to get some additional cash using gigs like babysitting, pet sitting, and house sitting. Once you work with someone and they are comfortable with you they’ll be likely to use your services again. If you’re using an app you can accept or reject jobs depending on your schedule. You can also use the app to find local gigs around where you are, and you usually will get paid immediately after the job is done. Some of these apps do run background checks and some do require a small fee for sign up, so be aware what you are signing up for before doing so.

Donate blood/plasma

If you can stomach the needle and don’t get queasy too easily, this may be the option for you. You can make between $20-$50 donating blood depending on your blood type.  Donating plasma is a little more intrusive, but you can donate up to twice a week and earn around $40-$60 for every donation.  There are websites where you can locate the nearest blood plasma donation center near you. In order to do any donation whether blood or plasma you’ll need to be healthy and pass a screening exam. If you do not pass a screening exam you will not be eligible to make any donations. If you aren’t sure that donating plasma or blood is the right choice for you, check out the videos online to understand what the process entails.

Teach/Consult

Is your career in a subject that you can easily help to educate children on? Maybe you want to educate adults or become an Adjunct Professor. These are great ways to make additional funds. This type of work isn’t for those with little time on their hands. Teaching or tutoring is time-consuming and will take some weeknights and maybe most of your Saturdays.  Before signing up be aware of the time sacrifice that will come along with it. If you go the route of tutoring students, you should consider charging by the hour. Depending on how often and how many students you tutor, you could make upwards of $100 a week. If the idea of being back in a classroom makes you want to run and scream consider consulting. You can help a small business out on the weekends or maybe work remotely part-time. Before signing up for part-time, you’ll want to be sure that your full-time employer is okay with it and doesn’t see it as a conflict of interest for you. If you get the green light go for it. Regardless of how you decide you want to make extra money, be sure that you have time available. As professionals, we can all understand what is expected of us and you’ll need to decide if that sacrifice is worth what the money being earned is. If you determine that it is, go get it!  

10 Facts About Student Loan Debt That Will Save You Money

  *TERMS AND CONDITIONS Subject to credit approval. Program requirements apply. Limit one $400 cash bonus per referral. Offer available to those who are above the age of majority in their state of legal residence who refers new customers who refinance their education loans with Education Loan Finance. The new customer will receive a $100 principal reduction on the new loan within 6-8 weeks of loan disbursement. The referring party will be mailed a $400 cash bonus check within 6-8 weeks after both the loan has been disbursed and the referring party has provided ELFI with a completed IRS form W-9. Taxes are the sole responsibility of each recipient. A new customer is defined as an individual without an existing Education Loan Finance loan account and who has not held an Education Loan Finance loan account within the past 24 months. Additional terms and conditions apply. Click www.elfi.com/referral-program for more info. NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
2018-11-02
Our Simplest Guide To Student Loan Refinancing: Part lll

This is the third part of our Simplest Guide to Refinancing. If you’re interested in student loan refinancing and want to know everything there is to know—in simple terms—about refinancing, check out part 1 and part 2. We’ve talked about the benefits of refinancing and process to refinance your student loans, so let’s take a look at what prospective lenders will be reviewing when looking to refinance your student loan debt.  

Refinancing After Claiming Bankruptcy

  Bankruptcy is a challenge when it comes to refinancing. Many people may find it challenging to refinance student loans after a bankruptcy for some time. It could even take as long as ten years for a bankruptcy to clear from your credit report entirely. Bankruptcy doesn’t clear student loan debt unless an exception is made, therefore it’s best to look into refinancing before a bankruptcy. If it’s too late for that as an option, that’s okay it may just be harder to qualify for student loan refinancing after bankruptcy. Check with lenders to see what they can offer.  

Debt-to-Income Ratio

  Debt-to-income ratio or DTI is the amount of money you owe versus the amount of money you make. This equation gives lenders an idea of what you should be able to afford as far as payments and additional debt amounts.   What’s a good DTI? Some sources note 36% or less as the acceptable debt-to-income ratio. It varies based on a lender’s underwriting criteria, but having less debt and more income will qualify you as lower risk for lending. You’ll be considered a lower risk because you have a more disposable income to dedicate to your debts.  

Credit Score and History

  Traditionally a “good” credit score is about 680 or higher. Most lenders won’t qualify you for refinancing if your credit score is below 660, but that’s not always the case. If you have a low credit score don’t hesitate to refinance, but be aware that the better your credit score the better rates you’ll receive from lenders.  If you didn’t know, your credit score is impacted by your credit history. So what is your credit history? Well, it’s exactly that, a history of your credit.  Credit history keeps track of how long you’ve had credit and if you’re a responsible lender. Obviously the longer you’ve had credit history the better, but we can’t all have credit as children - unless your parents added you as an authorized user to a credit card when you were born. Even if you don’t have perfect credit and a long credit history, it’s worth checking to see if refinancing might be right for you.  

Employment

There are a few things to consider regarding employment as you refinance your student loan debt. Lenders will likely look at your income from your job, the length of time you’ve worked there, and job history. If you have a job offer or promotion, you can get a job offer letter to submit that might help the lender understand your employment situation. People with long job history (and one with few gaps), higher income, and good earning potential are less risky for lenders. If you don’t hit all of these criteria, you might still be able to refinance. Without using a cosigner it’s in your best interest as a borrower to be employed to qualify for student loan refinancing.    

Questions to Ask During the Refinancing Process

Housing market and student loan debt
2018-10-31
Home Sales Drop Could It Be Due to Student Debt Crisis?

An eager young couple working together to afford their first home, a young family moving back in with the in-laws, or a recent college grad moving back home after school. These are the stories that have become oh so common in the United States. As the student loan debt crisis in America continues to grow, the homeownership rate has fallen specifically in younger generations. Student loan debt has increased to $1.5 Trillion in 2018 according to the Federal Reserve Bank.  The sales for homes continues to decline hitting its’ lowest number since 2015 according to a study by National Association of Realtors. According to the survey, more than seven in ten student loan borrowers believe that student loan debt has impacted their ability to purchase a home or take a vacation.   Many adult children have had to move home and put off their own dreams to pay down education costs like student loan debt. The daydream of one day buying their first home is becoming just that, a dream. Due to the immense amount of debt acquired during college, it just doesn’t seem possible for people to own their own homes. Let’s take a look at factors affecting borrowers and how they are dealing with housing due to student loan debt.  

The Feds

Is it possible that student loan borrowers have been placed in tough financial situations in part because of the Federal government’s model for the loans they provided during the 90s and 2000s? The Federal Government provided Stafford and Perkins loans to everyone at the same rate regardless of credit history. If you took out a loan with a private borrower, that lender would evaluate your ability to pay that loan back and would provide you with an amount they saw as acceptable. When providing loans to everybody regardless of credit history, the risk to the borrower is increased. Private institutions operate under guidelines and regulations that require they have “some skin in the game” to prevent risky lending.   Many borrowers see public service and not-for-profit jobs as a promising opportunity. Borrowers accept jobs in the public and nonprofit sector hoping to have their Federal student loans forgiven, not realizing the stringent requirement for eligibility to the Public Loan Forgiveness Program.  A recent report released on Septembers 19, 2018 by the Federal Student Aid a Department of the U.S. showed that 99% of borrowers have been rejected for the program. News of the rejection has borrowers feeling helpless with a lack of financial literacy.  

Transparency

Only one in five borrowers understood all the costs including tuition, fees, and housing according to the NAR survey. Borrowers were using loans for tuitions costs and did not fully understand the amount in which they were borrowing. The lack of responsibility on the borrower can be on part due to the lack of financial understanding and education. Financial literacy continues to become a recurring theme throughout the student loan debt crisis. Many borrowers lack the financial know-how for the most efficient ways to pay down student loan debt. The financial knowledge needed to handle debt, and the rising cost of college tuition has not worked to the advantage of student loan debt borrowers. According to the survey, 32% of student loan borrowers had defaulted or entered into forbearance on their student loan debt.  

Financial Literacy

Forbearance, deferment, Income-Based Repayment, and student loan grace period are commonly used when paying down student loan debt. What most borrowers don’t know is that unless you have a specific type of federal student loan debt, interest is accruing during this time period. The interest that accrues on your loan during these repayment periods can really end up costing you in the long run. In addition to the lack of knowledge on how to handle the debt, borrowers are unaware of opportunities like student loan refinancing.  

Paying Down Debt & Housing

Now that we understand a bit more about how student loan debt has gotten to where it is now let’s see how borrowers are dealing with the debt and what their housing situations look like.  

Moving Back Home

We all know at least one or maybe two young people who have moved back in with a family member after graduating from college. It has become fairly common for college graduates to move back home due to the vast amount of debt and “empty nest” syndrome parents often face. What can differ between households is whether the graduate pay rent to the family or friend in which they have moved in with.  

Renting

According to the National Center for Education Statistics student loan debt has grown from 5% to 30% of all household debt. Since 2008 the cost of college has risen. This increase in debt has caused an increase in renting. Equifax surveyed millennial renters asking why they didn’t buy a home and 55.7% of respondents listed “student loan debt/not enough money saved” as their reason for renting.  If a student loan debt holder can afford a mortgage payment typically they cannot save for the down payment that is required.   Potential homebuyers are having trouble finding homes they can afford according to CNBC. Due to this difficulty, many people are finding themselves renting for longer periods than they would have hoped. National apartment occupancy sits at 95% as of 2017.  

The Housing Market

As mortgage rates continue to increase so too, does the cost of homes. Both these factors continue to cause a drop in the sales. For example, sales of single-family homes, co-ops, and condominiums have dropped 3.4% from the prior month. Houses have become unaffordable and those with student loan debt cannot find the additional savings for the down payment needed. This drop in home sales could have a strong effect on the market.  

Looking Forward

 

Employer Benefit Programs

First-time homebuyers should not feel discouraged as there are still many options available. Employers have been stepping up to help employees who are carrying student loan debt by offering benefit student loan debt assistance programs. These programs help borrowers receive resources that they need to pay down debt faster. In addition, the programs give employers the ability to share contributions towards the student loan debt of their employees.  

Student Loan Refinancing

Borrowers with above 650 credit score and steady income may qualify to refinance their student loan debt. Refinancing student loan debt would allow borrowers to select their repayment terms and could offer a lower interest rate. A lower interest rate on student loans could save thousands over the life of the loan.  

Education

Secondary institutions and lenders need to better educate borrowers on terms and best practices on paying down debt.  The more resources that can be provided to borrowers the better off that borrower is. In addition, borrowers should not count on qualifying for the Public Student Loan Forgiveness program. Financial literacy also should be addressed to students at young ages. The more we can educate our youth of responsible lending the better off the United States economy can be.  

Learn More About the State of Student Loan Debt in America Today

    NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the web sites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source - The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
Students Getting Resume Tips
2018-10-29
Résumé Tips From Hiring Managers

You need a new job or you need your first “real” job to start paying off those student loans. For most people that means you need a résumé. If you really want to get noticed, or simply not get rejected, you need a good résumé. We talked to hiring and talent acquisition managers, C-suite executives and other really smart people to bring you the best advice. We want to help you get that dream job.  

Number one

  This may sound cliché, but everyone told us proofing is the best thing you can do. Go over it with a fine-tooth comb and have others look at it, too. A grammar, spelling or formatting error on your résumé shows you don’t pay attention to detail. In addition to not paying attention to detail it could give the impression that you simply don’t care. Nothing is a bigger turnoff to a potential employer.  

Objectives - out

  If someone is looking at your résumé, they know you are looking for a job. You don’t need to tell them in an objective statement. Instead, start with a short summary statement. The summary statement could discuss why you’re the best candidate for this job. The summary should be supported by your previous work experience. Below is an example from Columbia University Center for Career Education:   Example-  Publishing executive with multi-faceted background encompassing international licensing and brand management. Developed specialties in editorial planning, global marketing strategy, and design. Managed multiple projects simultaneously and eciently by overseeing the daily operations of 17 magazine titles worldwide. Proven ability to develop strong relationships across cultures and to provide decisive team leadership in a fast-paced environment.”    

Tinder® Experience a Plus

  Putting together a résumé can be a lot like putting together a dating profile. It’s a delicate balance of putting your best traits forward without overselling yourself. Getting too cute or creative can come off as cheesy or desperate. Never lie or misrepresent your role or accomplishments. Lying or misrepresentation might get you a date, but it won’t make for a successful relationship.    
  • Show the numbers. “Don’t just tell me you worked on something, tell me you improved something by 20%,” one person told us. Be specific and measurable if possible.
  • Do the math; your current job may not track the results you want to include. It’s okay to do the math yourself to help tell your story. Just make sure it’s accurate.
  • Problem, action, result. Bullet points should follow this format if possible. Be specific about what you did, not what your job is/was. (see example in next bullet)
  • Avoid passive job functions like, "Oversaw workforce of 8 employees dedicated to customer service." Instead go with something like "Mentored, trained and managed daily activities for 8 customer service representatives resulting in an 15% improvement in average likelihood to recommend score among customers."
  • Skip the basics. Oh, you’re proficient at MS Office? Everyone is, and even if you’re not it’s fairly expected. Include more specialized software or instances where you might be highly proficient. Like data modeling in excel for example. That’s okay.
  • Only include personal interests or hobbies if they are relevant to the position.
  • Don’t include social handles (other than LinkedIn®) if they aren’t relevant to the position.
   

Keywords and customization

 
  • Always customize language in your résumé to fit the job description you're applying for. If they use specific jargon, work it into your résumé because that's what they'll be looking for.
  • Don’t overdo it with keywords. A lot of bigger companies use keyword scanning software, so it’s important to include them, but they’re also used to spot the overuse of these words as well.
  • Make sure you’re speaking their language. It’s okay to translate titles. If you have a non-traditional job title like “customer success advocate” consider replacing that for industry standard language like “account manager” or whatever is appropriate.
 

Contact Info

  We got conflicting advice on what to do with contact information. Some people told us you might want to leave off details like your city if you don’t live in that city because some employers might prefer a local candidate. Conversely, you might want to include it if you are local. Some say that phone number and email are important, while others say the trend is moving toward just including your LinkedIn® address. We like this last option because it can leave room for more important things, but we recognize this may be highly situational.    

Design and formatting

  Don’t make dumb mistakes that get your résumé thrown off the pile. A good design in the résumé world is not typically cutting edge. Yes, if it’s too plain it may get overlooked. The best résumés are usually form over function. The main purpose is to make it easy to read. People don’t typically spend a lot of time with a résumé, so if they have to work to read it, it will get tossed aside. It should look good on screen and on paper.
  • Use a template. You can search for templates or you can use résumé building sites like uptowork.com. Certain industries may prefer certain styles. Do your research.
  • Keep it simple. Choose one simple easy to read font. Never something goofy like Comic Sans. Yes, more than one person told us they got a résumé with Comic Sans.
  • In general, it’s best not to go overboard with colors, symbols or lines.
  • Stick to one page. Especially early in your career. Don’t overstuff it with irrelevant information. Save some for the interview.
  • Make sure you’re using the proper tense. Past for old jobs and achievements. Present for current.
  • Don’t include a picture. Unless you’re a model or your picture is relevant for some reason.
  • Save it as a PDF file. Word files don’t always translate well. Especially if there’s a lot of special formatting. A PDF will be more consistent between computers.
  • Make your filename [First Name/Last Name.résumé] (ie. John Smith.résumé.pdf) not Jonrésumé2019.pdf.
   

The résumé is only part of the equation.

  The best résumé is only valuable when people see it. A lot of candidates are hired through referrals, relationship, and persistence. Work as hard or harder on getting your résumé in the right hands as you do on your actual résumé. Also, here’s a few more tips away from the résumé.
  • Make sure you put as much thought into your LinkedIn® profile as you do your résumé. Make sure there are no mistakes and it reflects on you the same way your résumé does. One executive told us this is equally, if not more important than a résumé, especially for networking. They said, an email has a good chance of going unnoticed, but a message on LinkedIn® almost never does.
  • Social Scrub. Take a serious look at your social channels, even if they are not listed. Employers often take a look when they get serious about a candidate. Many told us they have had social media tip the scales the wrong way for a prospective employee. Take down posts you think might be offensive or give the wrong impression.
 

You’re hired now what?!

  Great, but don’t forget your résumé. Most of us don’t stay in the same job forever. Your next job often doesn’t come around when you expect it, so keep your résumé fresh. It’s a good idea to write down your accomplishments when they happen so when you need it, you’re ready.  

3 Steps for Negotiating a Salary

  NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source - The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
2018-10-26
Why Do Banks Want to Refinance Your Student Loan Debt

Millennials have been accused of killing everything from napkins to mail, but we still get a lot of mail! Mixed in among the pizza coupons and carpet cleaning flyers (who has carpet anymore?), you’ll usually find banks advertising for refinancing or consolidation services. What is that? If you’ve ever puzzled at the adverts or banners popping up asking you to refinance your student loan debt, we can shed some light on the subject. Why do banks want to refinance your student loan? Here are five reasons!  

Business for the Bank

Banks make money off of the upfront costs of refinancing. You usually have fees associated with the process of refinancing, from administrative fees to application fees and so on. This pays the bank to employ people who work on your accounts. Basically, it pays the bills! So they make money from customers new or old setting up new accounts or new loans. It’s simple: refinancing pays the bank to provide a service that, in turn, helps them keep the lights on.  

They Want You to Stick Around

It’s an attractive deal for some borrowers to reduce their monthly payments. Some people will happily jump on a good deal to refinance for longer terms to get lower payments because that puts more of your monthly income back in your pocket. Sure, this keeps you as a customer longer, but it’s beneficial to the bank to have you as a customer for a longer term even if you’re paying less each month. And if you’re happy and making payments no problem, they’re very happy.  

You’re a Good Borrower (On Paper!)

If you’ve got a good credit score and income, you look good on paper. A bank will want you to stay with them or change to them instead of shopping around where they may be one of countless competitors vying for your business. Banks know that web-savvy searchers like yourself can hop on the ol’ internets and get quotes for new financial products in a matter of minutes. If you look good on paper and have all the markers of a responsible borrower, they want to offer services to you that keep you as a customer. It’s worth their advertising dollars to attract and retain good loaners  

They’re Making Your Debt Easy to Sell

Banks regularly sell debt to other institutions. If you have a mortgage or student loan for several years, you may have seen this at least once already. You get a notice in the mail saying something is changing with your servicers because your debt has been acquired by another company. It’s beneficial for both financial institutions and it doesn’t mean that you did or didn’t do anything in particular—you might be one of many people your bank has targeted as a current customer whose debt would be easier to sell if it were refinanced.   Those are the main reasons that you might be seeing advertising for your bank or any other bank trying to get you to refinance your loans. If you start thinking about refinancing your student loans, check out the help we can offer navigating the process.

Check Out Our Simplest Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

 
Students Graduate with Debt
2018-10-24
The State of Student Loan Debt in America Today

Education is an investment in one’s future. It opens doors to greater possibilities. It empowers people to reach their full potential. But for many, college has become an anchor instead of a sail. Crushing student loan debt can hinder a graduate’s ability to focus on the future. Some must choose careers based on salary instead of passion, just so they can handle loan payments. The constant need to earn more money stunts employee loyalty and justifies job-hopping. Even after refinancing student loans, debt still delays graduates from buying homes and starting families.  

It’s not just an unfortunate few saddled with student debt. Consider the following statistics:

 
  • More than 44 million Americans currently carry student loan debt.
  • The total combined debt is nearly $1.5 trillion. That’s more than the total amount of credit card debt owed.
  • Student loan debt is equivalent to 7.6 percent of the U.S. GDP in 2017. To put it another way, retiring the full amount of student loan debt would take 7.6 percent of the value all the goods and services generated in the U.S. economy for a full year.
  • The average debtor owes $39,400 in student loans. That’s equal to 70 percent of the median household income in the United States, which is $56,516, according to the 2015 U.S. Census.
  • On average, student debt is far greater than the annual salary of a new college graduate. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American ages 20 to 24 earns just over $28,000 annually. It’s slightly better — $38,400 — for Americans between the ages of 25 and 34. However, that's still less than the average overall student loan debt.
  • According to a 2017 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 40 percent of millennial employees have a student loan. Over 80 percent of them say student loans have a moderate or significant impact on their ability to meet financial goals.
  New doctors carry an extreme amount of medical school student loan debt. About 75 percent of new doctors in the U.S. graduated with debt in 2017. The average amount is now close to $190,000.   This explains why New York University will now grant all medical students free tuition. That is approximately $55,000 a year per student.   "We thought it was a moral imperative because it's very difficult for medical students to incur the debt burden of medical school, as well as the additional time burden of training," Dr. Robert Grossman, dean of NYU School of Medicine, told ABC News.   According to the report, student loan debt can “scare away” students from a career in medicine. It may also prevent graduates from pursuing a lower-paying specialty like pediatrics.   Clearly, there is no quick fix for student loan debt. However, several public and private programs can ease the burden. These initiatives continue to grow as more employers recognize the value of offering financial benefits, such as student loan repayment assistance.  

Common student loan assistance programs include:

 
  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is a federal program designed to forgive student loan debt for employees of certain public and nonprofit jobs.
  • The Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge forgives a certain percentage of student loan debt after every year of service. There are a number of ways to qualify for this program.
  • Both the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) programs set repayment cap amounts based on income and family size. They also forgive remaining debt after a set number of years of qualifying payments.
  • Student loan forgiveness programs designed specific careers such as teachers, nurses, and lawyers.
  Public programs may be a great fit for some. But for others, they may actually end up costing more over time. When considering a deferment or forbearance program, make sure you are not accruing additional interest. If so, this will then be capitalized and added to your original principal balance. Programs like IBR can be misleading. They can set graduates up to make payments only towards the interest rate accruing that month. This means they never actually apply to the principal balance of the loan. And it keeps the loan balance the same over time even though payments have been made towards the loan.   Before choosing a program, graduates should crunch the short-term and long-term numbers. It’s easy to get caught up in a program’s immediate impact. After all, you may only need a little breathing room in your budget. However, it's this lack of knowledge surrounding these programs that is fueling the student loan debt crisis.   In response, more private employers are adding student loan and tuition assistance programs to their benefits packages.   “Employer-sponsored third-party student loan repayment assistance programs are projected to grow quickly in the future,” according to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report on student loan repayment assistance programs.   According to a January 2017 WorldatWork survey:
  • 4 percent of employers surveyed offer student loan debt repayment assistance.
  • 11 percent offer employee scholarships and student aid.
  • 23 percent have scholarships available for employees’ children.
  • 14 percent offer college savings plans as part of their benefits package.
  • 87 percent offer tuition reimbursement to current employees for career development opportunities.
  A similar employee benefits survey by the Society of Human Resource Management showed that the number of employers offering student loan repayment programs increased from 3 percent in 2015 to 4 percent in 2017.   In general, the larger the company, the more likely it is to offer employees student aid benefits. Companies can use these programs as a recruiting tool to attract recent graduates.   Still, experts agree there's much more that needs to be done.   Summarized the CFPB: “Recognizing that significant student debt can have a domino effect on consumers’ financial lives and overall financial wellness, reports suggest an increased interest by both large and small employers in exploring benefits to help their employees pay down student debt or help manage their employees’ student debt stress.” Most of these initiatives are steps in the right direction. However, there is still a long road to recovery ahead for those affected by the student loan debt crisis.   This guest post was authored by Colin Nabity. Colin Nabity is the Chief Executive Officer of LeverageRx, a digital lending and insurance company for healthcare professionals. Through software technology, LeverageRx helps healthcare professionals find better rates on disability insurance, medical malpractice insurance, student loan refinancing and mortgage loans.  

9 Signs It's Time to Refinance Student Loan Debt

Man Asking for a Raise
2018-10-22
Asking for a Raise

At one point or another in one’s career, you arrive at the realization that, “I need more money.” When that realization hits you can spend less, save more money, or make more money. Maybe you’ve cut way back on spending, but it’s still not enough. You might have even considered refinancing your student loans or downsizing your home or apartment. Did someone say “tiny house”? Jokes aside, at some point, you’ll come to the conclusion: You need a raise. Tough nobody likes asking for a raise, if you want more money, you probably have to. Here are a few tips we’ve gathered on how to increase that take-home pay.  

But Why?!

  Did you get a new car? Did your landlord raise your rent, or did you lose a bunch of money investing in cryptocurrency? These are all reasons you might need money, but they aren’t good reasons to ask for a raise. Look at it in a different way. Say you go to a coffee shop every day and your $3.00 coffee is suddenly $3.50. You ask the guy behind the counter why the price went up. If his answer is, “we’re serving higher quality coffee” or “we have bigger cups, now.” you may not care much about the price increase, but if he says “we want to make more money,” then you might not be as happy. Your salary is no different. It’s a business decision that needs to be made. Your boss needs to understand why you need more money. Just like any other business vendor if you’re bringing more value to the company, that’s a great way to earn a raise. By the way, stop buying that coffee, you can make it way cheaper at home. Hello, French Press.  

Toot Your Own Horn

  It’s not enough to do a good job and hope it gets noticed. Make sure your hard work gets noticed! If you have positive news to share try and do it in person. Let your supervisors know any milestones you’ve achieved or when you’ve met or exceeded goals. Now, let’s be clear here we aren’t saying go bragging about yourself at every opportunity to the point it is obnoxious, but anytime you can let them know you’re helping, do it. This can be one of the hardest things for some people to do. Many workers tend to lean towards the humble side and just aren’t self-promoters. If it’s just too hard for you, try seeing if others will help to share your efforts with the boss and do the same for them. Regardless, the simple truth is when you get noticed more, you usually get paid more.  

This is EVERYTHING

  Timing can be everything when it comes to a raise. And that can be tricky. Knowing when and how your job evaluates pay increases is important to know. Sometimes, you’ll walk into a performance review and there will already be a decision made regarding your compensation. At some companies, there’s never a set time and you won’t ever get a raise if you don’t ask. What is usually best is after you’ve laid your plan as to why you deserve a raise, set up a time to talk with your boss one on one. This will let them know that one, you want a raise and two you’re serious about finding a way to make that happen.  

Work Past the “No”

  Let's face it getting a raise isn’t always easy. The answer could very well be “no.” Use that “no” to figure out what it’s going to take for them to say “yes” and allow that to set some new goals for yourself. That way when the opportunity comes around again you can show them what you have accomplished.  

Find Someone Who, Will

  Don’t ever threaten to leave as a means of getting a raise, but if they’re not willing to give you the compensation you feel is deserved, maybe it’s time to start looking. Your company may not be in a good financial state or just unwilling to pay more. Some companies lowball employees on salary simply because they’re betting you're not going to leave. If you don’t feel valued, see if you can get more compensation elsewhere. If you go this route of finding a new job, just make sure you’re making a logical decision and not an emotional one. The grass often looks greener in another pasture, but people often leave a job for more money only to find the hours are longer, the expectations are higher, or it’s not a pleasant environment. If you decide to leave, know what you’re getting into and compare compensation before you make a decision. Let's say you do get an offer and you’d consider staying at your current job, see if they will counter offer. If they are truly happy with you, they will often agree when faced with the cost of finding hiring and training a new employee.  

Out of the Box

  If you can’t adjust your salary to your lifestyle then you need to adjust your lifestyle to your salary. There’s probably plenty of ways to save without pinching every penny. Most you’ve probably heard of like cutting down on subscription services, eating out less, cutting the cord on cable, or buying used products. To save money you may have to think outside of the box. One thing you can do that typically most people don’t think of is—refinancing student loans. Refinancing could help to lower your interest rate, saving you in the long term, and probably lower your monthly payment which means more cash for you.   Regardless, how you choose to proceed in your journey of asking for a raise understand your strengths. In order to really understand the value that you bring, you need to know what you’re good at. Be sure to stay on top of the news and changes in your industry. If you’re constantly looking to improve your own personal skills this can help to attribute to the value you bring your company. Go ahead and sign up for that Saturday webinar or get that additional certification you want. Be your best and if your current company can’t seem to see that, then it’s time to move on. Good luck on your career journey!   [button text="Click to Learn More About Cutting Your Budget" link="/cutting-budget-start/"]    
Working Professional with Less Debt
2018-10-17
Entrepreneurs – The Cost of Starting Out

Starting a business can seem overwhelming, but it takes the right kind of person. For many entrepreneurs, money can be their biggest concern. You’ve got the dream, but you don’t have the dollars. People will often look for assistance using commercial loans to gain the money needed to get started, but what if you already owed thousands of dollars? Let’s take a look at the cost of starting a business with student loans. In this example, we’ll use a pizza place.  

Research and Planning

Before you begin investing your time and energy into a business, understand if and where there is a need for it. Where is there a lack of pizza places? Once you’ve determined a good area where there will be demand for the product look at your competitors. Look specifically at, prices, marketing, branding, and style. Now take a look at the median income for the neighborhood and surrounding towns that your pizza place would be located in. Is it a lower-income neighborhood or a higher-income neighborhood? Understand the area and price your product accordingly. Now that you have a better understanding of what you’ll need to start your pizza place create a business plan. If you’re in need of additional funding for your business this business plan will be of the utmost importance. There are different formats available for business plans, some more traditional while others are fairly brief. Be sure to check online for samples.  

The Cost of Business

Know what your expenses will be. Identify what those expenses are. The SBA has a list of expenses for starting businesses. These expenses include office space, equipment, supplies, utilities, licenses, permits, inventory, lawyer, salaries, marketing costs, and website costs. Once you have a list of your expenses, estimate out how much you’ll need to spend on each. Check out this handy worksheet that illustrates the starting costs for a pizza place. The SBA expense calculator provides an estimation of $18,975 as the starting costs for a business. The estimation includes one-time expenses like equipment, security deposits, and legal fees and monthly expenses like rent, insurance, and advertising. Every business is different, but typically there is some type of investment that must be made upfront. Now don’t forget that if you’re looking to start a business you can use some “startup costs’ as tax deductions. Tax deductions* per the SBA site include costs to get your business operation ready and costs of investigating the creation of a business. Once you have an idea of your expenses and what is tax deductible, you’re onto step two.  

FUN-ds

Here is the “fun” part where many young entrepreneurs get caught up - getting the funds. Not only do younger entrepreneurs not have the dollars but, they owe thousands in debt. That thousand dollar debt is likely due to student loans. According to a recent survey, nearly half of Americans considering starting a business said that student loans were a major barrier to entrepreneurship. Refinancing student loans can help. When refinancing you may get a lower rate or change the terms of the loan. It can help lower your monthly payments, sometimes significantly, giving you more cash in your pocket. Once your personal finances are in order (decreased student loan debt) figure out how much capital you can put towards your business. For this particular step, we’d recommend working with a financial advisor. By self-funding your business you will take on all the risk of the business, not to mention taking funds from all your accounts resulting in penalties. Instead of self-funding the capital fully, try crowdsourcing, small business loans which you’ll want to research heavily to assure you’re receiving the best rate or finding investors willing to provide capital. If you take money from an investor for your pizza place, it’s a venture capital investment. This type of investment is usually offered in return for a share in the company and some sort of power position within the company. Therefore, if you do take on venture capital investments understand that the business is no longer just yours.  

Naming

Once you’ve gained the funds you’re well on your way! Next, you’ll set up the internal structure for your business, register the name for your pizza place, set up your Tax IDS, and get the appropriate licenses. Licenses are usually industry, location, and state-specific so be sure you’re working with a legal team to meet all appropriate criteria or it could end up costing you. All decisions will have an impact on how your company functions, so be sure that you’re taking every necessary precaution and good luck in your journey. Refinancing may not be the solution to all of your money problems, but it’s a step in the right direction. When you’re starting out, all it takes is to get going on the right path to continue moving forward. Don’t forget to open up a business bank account to help organize your business funds from your personal funds. Similarly to refinancing you’ll want to choose a bank with transparency, credibility, and great service.  

Facts About Student Loans That Will Save You Money

*Please note Education Loan Finance is not a registered tax professional.